TRAINING: A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Draughting Training
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The Academy prides itself not only on teaching all aspects of practical draughting, but also in equipping its students with a wider perspective on the different areas of design and turnkey project management.
“We believe a practical and multi-disciplinary approach thoroughly prepares a draughtsperson for the challenges and demands of the working world”, says Professor Emil Dirsuwei, founder and director of the Academy. “An effective draughtsperson is one who is multi-skilled.”
Thus, the Academy focuses on a range of key learning areas, including architectural, civil, mechanical, piping, electrical and structural draughting. In addition, students are given a thorough grounding in project design and management, as well as life skills and work ethics.
The Academy, which was founded thirty years ago, has seen many students find their feet in the world of draughting and engineering, after completing the three year course.
One such student is Clarence Kgohloame. The Academy launched Kgohloame on his career path as draughtsman, firstly at a platinum mine in Rustenburg, where he was in charge of the drawing office, and lately at a major petrochemical company in Johannesburg. In his current position, Kgohloame is also responsible for the drawing office, which produces mechanical, structural and architectural drawings.
Kgohloame describes how the Academy went a long way in equipping him for the outside world. “The Academy gave me not only my knowledge of the language of multi-disciplinary drawings, but also how I, as a draughtsman, fit into a project.” Indeed, Kgohloame would like to end up in project management one day, and says the Academy gave him a very good overall perspective on the different disciplines in engineering and architecture, which he says will stand him in good stead.
Looking back, Kgohloame sees the structure of the course – a strong theoretical component balanced with practical work experience - as providing an excellent foundation. In the students’ second and third years, they are employed by companies in order to obtain work experience. “It really is a win-win situation”, he says. “The practical side of the course, getting proper work experience during the day, really prepared me for what is out there in the real world.”
Dirsuwei confirms that the Academy’s course is designed to mirror the work environment. “Students finish their education aware of all the opportunities available to them. Just about everything, from shopping malls, to water pipes, electrical circuits and homeware, has an intricate draughting and design component. Students are highly sought after in the workplace, especially as South Africa is currently in a very intensive infrastructure development phase,” he adds.
Students at the Academy are first taught the rudiments of draughting through manual draughting, before moving onto CAD (Computer Aided Draughting). “
Kgohloame recalls how useful the ‘back to basics’ manual drawing was, particularly for someone with little prior experience of technical drawing. “But it was the broader understanding that I gained of the 3D perspective, of translating an idea into an actual drawing which gave me the edge,” he says, “it’s all about visualisation, then finally joining all the pieces together.”
Students at the Academy are trained on advanced 3D modelling software such as Revit and Inventor. “However”, warns Dirsuwei, “there is a proliferation of people who call themselves a draughtsman or woman, but who in fact are only software package operators.
“That is why we believe in imparting to our students an in-depth technical knowledge, as well as adding turnkey project design training to the package – in order to produce well-rounded and versatile draughtspersons who couldn’t be better equipped for the changing demands of the working world.”
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